Ever wondered whether core strength makes a difference on the badminton court? The truth is that it can. A strong core can mean more speed, power, and stability in your overall game — from your jump smashes to your lunges and even your footwork. But what kind of exercises are best for targeting your core, and how often should you do them?
Read on to discover all the ways badminton core exercises can level up your game, along with the five best options to try.
Why Is Core Strength Important for Badminton?
Badminton might seem like a game of arm power, lightning-fast reflexes, and quick footwork — but core strength is also a crucial part of your game. It can help with:
- Lunges. Even though lunges might seem leg-focused, your core plays a key role in keeping you stable during this movement.
- Recovery. A strong, solid core can help you jump back into your ready position more quickly after each shot.
- Smashes. If you’ve been in the badminton game for a while, you know that the momentum from your entire body helps generate power behind a smash. This is why a strong core can help you create stronger, deadlier smashes.
- Injury prevention. A strong abdomen means your entire body will be more aligned and supported on the court. It may also help decrease your chances of injury — especially in the lower extremities — by taking pressure off of your hips, spine, and even your knees.
5 Best Badminton Core Exercises to Try
Ready to put together your own badminton core training routine? Here are five of the best exercises to help you get started:
1. Rocking Planks
Regular planks burn enough as it is — but if you want to take them up a notch, you can try rocking planks instead. This simple movement strengthens your entire core with a special focus on your obliques.
Here are the steps:
- On a yoga mat or other comfortable surface, lower your body into the standard plank position.
- Be sure to stack your shoulders above your elbows, raise your body onto your toes, keep your back straight, and engage your core.
- Then, with your abdominal muscles still engaged, propel your body forward onto your toes.
- Rock your body back into the starting position.
- Repeat for 60 seconds.
- Take a 30-second rest, and repeat for 3 to 5 sets.
2. Medicine Ball Russian Twists
The medicine ball Russian twist is a weighted exercise that targets your abs and obliques. Since the weight you’ll use is entirely customizable, it’s a great option when you’re ready to move up from bodyweight ab exercises.
- Grab a medicine ball with a weight of your choosing. If you’re a beginner, a 5 lb (2.3 kg) ball is a great place to start.
- Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you, knees pointing up toward the sky, and feet flat on the ground.
- Hold the medicine ball out in front of you. Then, engage your abs and twist your torso from left to right, moving the medicine ball along with you.
- Repeat for 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps.
3. Mountain Climbers
A classic bodyweight movement, mountain climbers are a compound badminton core exercise that will put your abs to the test — while also strengthening your arms, shoulders, back, and hip flexors.
To try them:
- Start in a push-up position with your palms flat on the floor, your back straight, and your weight resting on your toes.
- Quickly bring one knee up toward your chest. In one flowing movement, kick the leg back down to the starting position, and bring the other up (almost like a floor version of high knees).
- Repeat for 2 to 3 sets of 20 to 30 reps.
4. Leg Raises
Leg raises are a beloved core movement that can help target the sometimes harder-to-reach lower abs. Here are the steps:
- Lie down on your back with your arms extended to your sides and your palms flat on the ground.
- Slightly tuck your chin in towards your chest.
- Keeping your back to the floor, engage your core and raise your legs up in the air until they’re at a 90-degree angle to your hips. (The straighter your legs, the more challenging this exercise will be.)
- Repeat for 2 to 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.
Tip: For a tougher variation, try hanging leg raises instead.
5. Weighted Sit-Ups
If you’re trying to build strong abs, you can’t go wrong with a classic sit-up. But to bring even more core strength to your badminton game, you can try weighted sit-ups instead.
Follow these steps to get started:
- Grab a plate or dumbbell of your choosing. Somewhere around 5 to 10 lbs (2.3 to 4.5 kg) will work well for beginners.
- Lay on the floor in the classic sit-up position with your legs out in front of you.
- Hold the weight in front of your chest. Then, use your core strength to raise your body up in a classic sit-up motion.
- Pause for a moment at the top of the movement, and slowly lower your body back down.
- Repeat for 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.
How Often Should You Do Badminton Core Exercises?
To see a consistent improvement in your badminton core strength, you’ll want to add a combination of these exercises to your training routine two to three times per week.
This will help you build significant strength, all while giving your abs ample time to recover between workouts.
If you’re not already doing badminton core exercises, adding them to your routine is definitely worth the effort. These movements can help you lunge more quickly, improve stability, prevent injury, and add some serious power to your smashes.
While the exercises covered here are a great starting point, there are countless core movements and variations out there. So, don’t be afraid to experiment and find the ones that suit you best — and with a few weeks of consistent training, you could be amazed by the difference you see on the court.